Black Plague Silver Heller Coin
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Black Plague Silver Heller. 1340-1360 AD. 15mm diameter.
From the time of the Black Death. Struck in Hall, Germany. Silver “Heller”. Hand with palm forward/Cross with arms ending in pellets, all within circular border.
The Medieval equivalent of a nuclear holocaust, the bubonic plague or Black Death, killed as many as one third of Europe’s people in just three years from 1347-1350. Originating in Asia, rats carried fleas, then bit humans. The disease was then spread by coughing.
The first sign was sneezing, then lumps, fever, vomiting, pneumonia and death three days later. The utterance “Bless You” or “God Bless You”, that we use today when someone sneezes, was once uttered by family and friends as a way of saying prayers for one who was about to die in just three days time.
One remote pocket of Europe escaped the Black Death – Oberammergau in Southern Germany. They pledged to put on a play, depicting Christ’s crucifixion every ten years if spared. This tradition lives on.
The Silver Heller, ‘Hand of God’, was struck in Austria, displaying the image of a hand – the first non traditional representation of God ever seen in a coin. They were held as good luck charms, as the open palm bestowed the favour and protection of God upon whoever owned the coin.
Hall township has a seal that bears the same hand and cross. Minted and circulated in the Holy Roman Empire & Europe for 200 years. It’s a nearly pure silver coin and over 500 years old.
Ref: Ex-Numismatic Naumann, Germany.